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  • Design for change: An investigation into the value of manual design practice in organisational learning for highly specialised technology companies

Mueller-Csernetzky, Petra, 2022, Thesis, Design for change: An investigation into the value of manual design practice in organisational learning for highly specialised technology companies PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

Purpose: In organisations, expertise is one of the strongest assets for competitive advantage. It supports individual and organisational learning, the development of sustainable skills and is the capital of the workforce. In particular, tacit knowledge is highly valuable, but hidden in working routines or domain-specific know-how. In many cases this knowledge gets lost when employees leave the organisation or business processes change due to digitisation efforts. The study investigates to what extent the use of visual communication and manual design practice contributes to organisational learning in the context of digital transformation. It also examines ways of dealing with different visualising practices and looks at the complexity of implementing a digital management execution system in a technical environment. It aims to understand the interplay between knowledge worker and design expert, examining the outcome of this co-creational setting. Consequently, the research question is: How does manual design practice act for facilitation in organisational transformation within digitisation initiatives in highly specialised technology ventures?

Approach: The use of Action Research enabled me to investigate in a long-term case study at a high-tech company. Research Through Design helped me to develop user manuals for handling a new manufacturing execution system (MES). Within two and half years, three manuals were designed. The manuals are used in the company for training new employees and to enable further installations in other branches. These manuals, the interviews, and recordings of work meetings serve as material for the analysis and to understand the design practice within the transformation initiative.

Results: The study results in an Integrated Framework for Facilitation by Design and contributes to the field of knowledge management in combination with facilitation through manual design practice. The framework consists of a process to work with individuals and to establish knowledge work. It builds the basis for a system to tackle more complex challenges and to enable full contextual understanding to deal with knowledge and information architectures. The process itself only unfolds its effect in the organisation and in defined spaces for knowledge work. The framework creates principles for an organisational learning culture that will enable the organisation to manage transformation to varying degrees and scales.

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies
School or Centre: School of Design
Uncontrolled Keywords: Tacit and explicit knowledge; facilitation; design agent; transformation; technical and visual communication; co-creation; service design
Date Deposited: 27 May 2022 16:38
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2022 12:38
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/5053
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